A Beginner’s Guide to Travel in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia is such a popular travel destination, and it is easy to see why. It is one of the most magical areas on earth! It is a region of the world that is filled with a range of beautiful beaches, historic temples, jungles, waterfalls, and plenty of busy and bustling cities. So no matter what kind of traveller that you are, and what you want to get out of your next trip, there really is something for everyone. Being healthy and safe is something to consider when you are visiting somewhere completely new, especially if you are thinking about going for the very first time. There are some different things to get used to how things are done, and there are other aspects like visa requirements to think about, as well as when the best time of the year is to visit. Not to mention, which country or island should you visit when there is a massive choice to choose from? 

To help you as you plan a trip, or to get you inspired as to where you go and what to do, here are some tips for any first-time visitors to Southeast Asia. Of course, before booking anything, you should check what is going on with quarantines at your destination, as well as when you get home, when it comes to travel during the coronavirus pandemic.


Pick your countries wisely

It can be quite tempting to choose as many countries as you would like on your trip, but unless you have a lot of time to spend, it is worth taking things a little slower so that you can embrace the culture of a couple of places, rather than barely seeing any of the countries that you visit properly. And just because you are in Southeast Asia, it doesn’t mean that you can easily get to one another. For example, the island of Bali (part of Indonesia), is a seven-hour flight from parts of Vietnam like Hanoi. So before you think about flights and planning your itinerary, think about how long you will have for your trip, and then plan your route and countries of choice wisely. Ones that are close together and mean quick flights or non-stop trains, can be most helpful.


Check visa requirements

Quite a few Southeast Asian countries need you to have at least six months left on your passport in order to be able to enter the country. There are also some of those countries that need you to have a specific number of empty pages on that passport. Requirements for travel visas can change a lot, and do vary from country to country, so you must do your research before you fly. Some places need a visa in advance, but others do not.


Live as the locals do

If you want to really embrace the culture of the country, then it can be a good idea to think about staying in local rental accommodation, rather than staying in hotels. Although hotels can be great, and might be a better choice in some countries rather than others, looking to rent apartment in Singapore can be a good idea as a better way to embrace the culture of the country, rather than a sterile hotel. When you stay locally, you can get to know local people, as well as find some hidden gems that you would have otherwise not seen, like local markets and things that are a little off the tourist track. It can depend on what country you are in, as some areas are best not to stay in. But for city stays, renting an apartment, rather than hotel accommodation can be a good idea. 


Pack light

Knowing what to take with you on travels to Southeast Asia can be tricky. It is important to pack as light as possible, especially if you are going to be travelling around. You should also think about looking to do some laundry as often as you can, as that will limit what you have to take with you. In a lot of Southeast Asian countries, you can easily get your clothes washed, dried, and even ironed, really quickly. This could be at a hotel, or a local service, and it will hardly cost anything. If you’re staying in accommodation, then there might be the facilities to do this yourself. 

You should also think about the climate. The weather is hot and humid pretty much all year round. So you should pack accordingly. Even though it is warm, it can still rain fairly often too. So you need to think about packing lightweight clothes that can keep you cool, but also packing an umbrella and a light raincoat. The rain can come on quite suddenly, as well as being quite heavy when it does come, so you need to be prepared so you don’t end up being soaked for the rest of the day. 


Safeguard your health

Before you are planning to head off to some countries in Southeast Asia, it is best to check and double check if there are any vaccine requirements before you go. If there are some, then you will need to check in to get those individual vaccinations before you go, if you haven’t had them already. If this is going to be pricey for you, then you could always think about getting them at a health centre when you get to your destination. 

As a rule, when you are travelling to a Southeast Asian country, it is best to get tetanus shots, as well as a typhoid vaccination, as these are good to have. In addition to getting any necessary vaccinations before you go, it is a good idea to look for some strong mosquito repellent. This can be a good help when it comes to keeping you safe from things like malaria or dengue fever. 

One of the final tips to note is that it is best to be a responsible tourist when you are on your travels. There are some practices over there that would never happen in your home country, such as how they treat animals in their zoos. So be a responsible tourist, and only support things that are good and support things like animal welfare and sustainability.

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